Emperor Norton

Emperor Norton, aka Joshua Abraham Norton (c. 1817–1880), was a San Francisco businessman who, in 1859, proclaimed himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and subsequently Protector of Mexico. He issued proclamations, attended sessions of government, rode free on public transit, had free tickets to theater, and sold his own currency, but lived day to day as a pauper. Nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco at his funeral. He appears in the literature of Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christopher Moore, and Neil Gaiman, among others. Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine is a lively, informative, and entertaining historical walking tour of the city.